From Endurance to Dressage
I've been hemming and hawing over taking Izzy to see Dr. Tolley at Bakersfield Vet Hospital. The wound on his leg has required re-wrapping again (don't ask), and he's been lame on the left front for the better part of six weeks.
I've been taking care of the leg wound myself, and Izzy's lameness had faded to almost nothing by last weekend. When USEF announced the rule change regarding proof of Flu and Rhino vaccinations, I got off the indecisive fence and scheduled an appointment anyway.
I've written about Bakersfield Vet Hospital's staff many, many times. It just can't be said enough though - every single person from the front office staff to the vet technicians to the vet assistants to the doctors themselves make office visits such a pleasure.
I had barely unloaded the horses when the vet tech came out ready to collect fecal samples. She was pleasantly surprised when I handed her baggies already filled and labeled with each horse's name. Once both boys were secured to the trailer, I followed her to the lab so that I could watch her do her tests.
I am usually too busy with Dr. Tolley to get to watch her work, but I had arrived early for my appointment, and Dr. Tolley was still busy with the previous client. I took advantage of the opportunity and asked tons of questions.
One thing I didn't know was that the vial she fills with poo is actually a lot like a salad dressing cruet. You know the ones that show how much water, oil, and vinegar to add? Her vial is a lot like that. It has markers that show her how much solution to use and how much poo needs to be added. And, it's not water that she uses to mix with the manure. Instead, it's a special flotation solution that forces the eggs to float to the top.
She siphons off a few drops of the soup and squirts them onto a special slide that has two grids side by side. She slips the slide under the microscope and then very thoroughly checks every single square on the grid. She counts every egg that she sees and sorts them by type. She's mostly looking for two things. I am going to be honest here. She showed me the chart with pictures and names of the types of eggs she most commonly sees, but I can't remember what they were.
My horses live in sandy stalls/paddocks where the manure is picked up daily, so their risk of a parasite load is negligible. In fact, I've never ever had anything but a negative eggs per gram test. That of course makes the task easier, but it's not very interesting when you're wanting to see what an egg looks like.
BVH's lab tech had just the answer. Earlier in the day, a filly had come in with a GINORMOUS parasite load, so she pulled a fresh fecal sample and re-ran the test so that I could look for the eggs myself. She found the first type of egg for me and then let me look for the second one. Out of sheer luck, I found one example, but couldn't find others. Here's a photo she took for me.
The two big blobs are the common type of eggs she sees, but the little smudge to the right of the bottom egg is the second type. This is all super cool to look at when it's someone else's horse's fecal sample. I wouldn't be as excited about the whole deal if I was looking at Speedy or Izzy's poop. Both of their tests came back negative by the way.
By the time we had run the fecal tests, Dr. Tolley was ready for us. Even though our appointment was just for vaccinations, he asked if there was anything else that I wanted to talk about. HAHAHA - but of course!
I pulled Izzy's bandage and had a little pity party about the fact that the wound had still not healed over 100%. Dr. Tolley felt that it looked great and suggested I keep doing what I am doing. It is now covered with a thin scab, but he suggested I wrap for a little longer to allow the tissue under the scab to heal more fully.
Once I am ready to stop bandaging again, he suggested I look for a paint on liquid bandage or even super glue to hold things in place so it doesn't crack back open. That was a clever suggestion.
I also asked him to look at Izzy's front left - the one he tore the shoe off of three times in less than three weeks. Dr. Tolley gave the foot a visual inspection, put the hoof testers on, and then watched Izzy walk off in a straight line. it wasn't an actual lameness exam, but it made me feel better. Izzy was negative to the hoof testers, and Dr. Tolley thought he was well shod with no red flags. His earlier guess of a bruise was still holding water.
I was tickled to hear him compliment Izzy's over-all health. He was really happy with how much weight I have been able to pack on this high energy horse. Dr. Tolley called him a well muscled, adult horse who was just ... big! That was music to my ears considering that six months ago, Dr. Tolley expressed doubt about my being able to pack weight on a young TB cross.
Speedy got the same once over. Dr. Tolley looked at his feet to check on how my farrier was doing with Speedy's angles. Dr. Tolley had me walk Speedy out so that he could see how he was moving. If you'll remember, we've gone through several bouts of lameness that we are now chalking up to hoof bruises caused by the rear feet striking the front hooves. Going barefoot and living in bell boots has resolved that issue entirely.
Both boys got their Flu and Rhino vaccinations so that I will be in compliance with USEF's new vaccine schedule. Amanda, from over at the $900 Facebook Pony generously shared a link to a USEF vaccination record form that I printed. Dr. Tolley happily filled it out and stamped it with his official vet stamp. I am not sure he enjoys the extra paperwork, but I know he likes to be thorough.
While spending several hours hauling to the vet on a rare day off might not be entertainment to most people, I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon. Hearing that my boys are in good health and having it confirmed by such a knowledgeable veterinarian is worth a few hours out of my day. The trick is to keep them that way.
How many of you will need to adjust your vaccination schedule to meet the new USEF rule?
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2022 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2022 Show Schedule
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%